DOZENS OF celebrities and high-profile political figures were implicated in a major online hacking scandal yesterday evening.
At around 11pm (Irish time) last night, a number of celebrity Twitter accounts were hacked by online scammers who then posted messages on the accounts stating they would be 'giving back' to the community in the form of bit coin.
The scam saw accounts purporting to be the celebrities-- including Barack Obama and Joe Biden's official pages-- claiming that if people sent them bitcoin, they would send back double the amount.
The message on former US president Barack Obama stated:
"I am giving back to my community due to Covid-19!
"All Bitcoin sent to my address below will be sent back doubled. If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000!"
The scam, which implicated celebrities such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kanye West and Jeff Bezos also targeted company accounts including Apple and Uber.
It is believed that up to $50,000 worth of bitcoin was stolen from unsuspecting Twitter users in the short time the messages were visible.
All of the hacked accounts have had the scam messages removed, and Twitter have confirmed they are investigating the cyber attack.
"We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter," a spokesperson for the company wrote.
"We are investigating and taking steps to fix it."
As the social media giant scrambled to secure its data, may Twitter users found themselves unable to change their password or send a tweet, but this issue has since been resolved.
Once we became aware of the incident, we immediately locked down the affected accounts and removed Tweets posted by the attackers.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 16, 2020
An initial investigation has revealed "what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.
"We know they used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf. We're looking into what other malicious activity they may have conducted or information they may have accessed and will share more here as we have it."
The affected accounts have been locked down until Twitter can ensure they have been made secure.